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Mexico Timeshare FRAUD: February 7, 2015

scam warning >> INTERNATIONAL TIMESHARE NEWS

ALL OVER MEXICO: 1) The answer to your question is no. No I don’t think these professional grifters will ever stop. There’s too much money in it, a huge supply of timeshare owners to swindle, with that number growing every day, and plenty of people lacking even a rudimentary conscience to take advantage of you. So we’ll keep reporting and you all keep filing complaints to the proper authorities to document it all and we’ll see if we can at least help to get some of them sent to the slammer. (If you haven’t been following the Keith Kosco timeshare transfer scandal, click on that link. It might give you hope if you’ve been victimized by the scammers.)

2) HEADS UP! Pay attention to this:

[My Aunt] was recently defrauded out of $50k by Chris Carter of The Brokerage Group (mentioned in your November 1 scam alert ). I have reported the fraud to the FTC and they indicated that they would open an investigation if there were numerous fraud reports/an ongoing pattern by the same people/organization. Would you … be able to post a request from other people that have either been approached or defrauded by Chris Carter to submit a complaint to the FTC. They can call 877-382-4357. It takes about 5 minutes and would really help!
-David

Note that you can of course report frauds by other companies as well.

3) One more thing: Word on the street is that the infamous Johnny Montalbo (Montalvo?), aka John Monte, aka Juan Carlos Montalbo, is heading to Cabo San Lucas to head up some type of scam there (possibly one of the timeshare transfer schemes operating in Cabo?). His name is associated with the massive Grand Miramar scam in Puerto Vallarta as well as Continental Resources, World Luxury Destinations and several other frauds. John, Mario and Anna Saenz Montalbo, the three scammers in the family, reportedly travel between Mexico and San Antonio and use the scam monies to fund their luxury lifestyle. Be on the lookout and if anyone can get a photo of him send it on so we can publish it.

UPDATE Feb. 10: Ask and ye shall receive. Here are pics of Johnny Montalbo and Anna Saenz. (Muchisimas gracias!)

Johnny Montalbo, aka John Monte aka Juan Carlos Montalbo Anna Saenz Montalbo
 

Moving along, here are the names of the Mexican timeshare resale scam companies/agencies I’ll be exposing this week, one of which has been mentioned in previous posts and/or comments, but it bears repeating because the scammers running it are still actively stealing from timeshare owners.

  • Carriage House Travel, Inc., purportedly in Kirkland, WA.
  • Diamond Management Group, working in conjunction with Grand Miramar (yes, you read that right!)
  • Riverside Travel Services, purportedly in Marlborough, MA, working in conjunction with Chatham Title and Escrow Services Inc.
  • Chatham Title and Escrow Services, Inc., purportedly in Charlestown, MA
  • Travel Around the World, purportedly in Saint Paul, MN
  • Title Closer Inc, also purportedly in Minnesota

Those are ALL sham companies being worked out of Mexico in order to steal your money. More information follows below the squiggle.

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Carriage House Travel, Inc.: This company has been thoroughly covered at this link, but as the renewal date for the domain name fast approaches, as well as the expiration date of the corporation itself, they seem to have ramped up their efforts. They may renew everything and continue on, but if past is prologue they’ll discard this company name and reinvent themselves under a new name.

Here’s why I’m reminding you of this outfit today:

Hello,
This Mexican Escrow scam from Carriage House Travel in Kirkland, Washington is mentioned in 1 of your articles.
These scammers are smooth lying, cheating people .
They go be the names of Tom Kelly, Jeffrey Callaghan, Steven Ramos and Dorothy Wiseman for these people have been mentioned in many articles.
The address they use in Kirkland is a front only for mail pick-up etc, building run or owned by Regus.
I am a victim of this scam and sure hurts when on a fixed income and been cheated by these crooks.

Wally Lawrence

Diamond Management Group: Here’s all you need to know about this outfit, per one of their victims:

We are a couple from Minnesota and we own a timeshare in Puerto Vallarta called Paradise Village which we bought in 2007 after we came back from a deployment to Iraq. Paradise Village is actually a legitimate, albeit overly priced, timeshare. In October of 2013 we did a timeshare presentation at….wait for it…The Grand Miramar in Puerto Vallarta (gasp).

It’s a pretty slick presentation actually. Did you know that Richard Bounds is still operating out of the Grand Miramar? The filter they use to determine who they will pitch to is that you currently have one or more timeshares. They don’t deal with anyone else. The catch being is that they will sell your timeshare so that your timeshare with Miramar actually doesn’t cost anything, a net zero as it were. Of course, the sale of the timeshare is handled by a separate company. In our case that company was the Diamond Management Group, Inc. I bought into the scam plopping down $23,000 thinking that we would recover that with the sale of our timeshare at Paradise Village.

Fast forward to now. You and I both know Diamond never had any intention of ever selling our timeshare. This company has had many names in the past I am sure. Miramar is the ones that charge you the money on your card. When you go to dispute with your credit card company after 6 months (Diamond guarantees sale and funds within 6 months) the credit card company says you have exceeded the time frame in which to dispute charges. And in our case they indicated that our dispute is not with the Grand Miramar but with the company that offered to sell your timeshare, the Diamond Management Group. And that’s the scam, you have no recourse to dispute valid charges that you authorized for the purchase of a “Vacation Club” at the Grand Miramar.

Fortunately for us, there is a “buy back” clause in the Miramar contract. This clause states that for whatever reason if we aren’t satisfied we can exercise this option after one year but less than five for a buyback of $44,000. Since our bank (USAA) wouldn’t help us I filed a BBB claim against them. They reopened the claim but still indicated our dispute was with Diamond Management Group. And I said well what about this “buy back” clause with Miramar? Will you dispute with MasterCard if we go back to Mexico and try to exercise this option and they don’t honor it? They indicated they would. And we actually had a vacation planned for that time, one year after we purchased, and met with Mr. Richard Bounds once again.

Lot of hemming and hawing on Mr. Bounds’ part. Nonsense about our account not being activated because we must have disputed (at that time we had not). And then nonsense about they never actually received any money from us, that the “funds” were in some “intermediary” bank in Mexico. We provided a letter to Mr. Bounds from our bank (USAA) that proved the funds were paid and were not in dispute. Mr. Bounds told us with that letter he would get it all cleared up and we could continue on with our desire to exercise the buy back option. All lies of course and Mr. Bounds ceased email communication with us and our “account” was never activated.

We formerly disputed these charges with USAA and they took it to MasterCard. USAA credited us the $20,000 we put on our credit card pending the outcome. The merchant (Grand Miramar) has 60 days to explain everything outlined in our dispute to MasterCard’s satisfaction. If not, we can keep the money. We are 30 days away and praying that this will work out.

At any rate, the REAL reason I tell you this story is the interesting tidbits I have found in my own extensive research. What I didn’t know up until finding your website and reading its articles is how BIG this scheme is and how deeply rooted it is with changing names and players.

Diamond Management Group has a website of course. Although it is fake as fake can be, a mere shell of legitimate website. No address and no real points of contact. A listing of fake timeshares for sale with the obligatory fake “sold” indicator on a few to inspire legitimacy. The interest tidbit is that when doing a WHOIS search on that website and who owns it – Registrant Email: [email protected] – comes up. That should ring a bell.

Anyways, that’s our story. So you can add the Diamond Management Group to your list of fakes!

Thanks for your website. Awesome stuff.

B.G.

Riverside Travel Services, Inc.: This company, purporting to be in Marlborough, MA, has attempted to steal that corporation’s identity. The real corporation, located in Medford, MA and owned by Joseph Cardello, was voluntarily dissolved by Cardello in Dec. 2013.

Riverside Travel Services Fraud documentIn Feb. 2014 someone using the name Norman Olson registered a revocation of that dissolution, bringing the company back to life with Olson as President and the new Marlborough address. But Cardello noticed that pretty quickly and he filed a new dissolution of the company with a notation that the revocation was a fraud. Here’s a screen shot of the relevant portion of that document so you can see for yourself. Click on the image to see it bigger.

Notwithstanding, the scammers have gone ahead with their website — probably assuming that most of their potential victims won’t think to check that deeply into their corporate status. The website is typical of these scams, glossy and slick on the surface but with no information of actual value. The address they claim at 225 Cedar Hill Street, Suite 200, Marlborough, Massachusetts, 01752 belongs to the Regus Marlborough Business Center, home to virtual offices, mail drops, etc. This is very clearly a scam company; do NOT send them any money.

Chatham Title and Escrow Services, Inc.: This company was originally created in 2004 by Anne-Marie Litchfield, who was listed as registered agent, president, treasurer, secretary and director. William G. Litchfield is also listed as a director.

The last annual report filed by Litchfield was for 2011. Then, curiously, the annual reports for 2013 and 2014 were both filed in January 2014, with a change in officers and directors and address listed for 2013 and a change in registered agent to Linda Abrams added for 2014. And just like that, in the space of one day, everything changed.

As is the case for Riverside Travel, the new company address for Chatham Title at 40 Warren Street, 3rd floor, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 02129 belongs to a Regus Business Center, which provides virtual offices, mail drops, answering services etc. This information alone makes the company questionable, but combined with their actions and affiliation with Riverside Travel it clearly identifies them as a scam.

Travel Around the World: The email from one of their victims said, “I have a company in MN that already got me for several thousand for first Transfer Fee – then the IVA tax and now they want the SAT Mexican closing cost and another $5k !!”

If you’ve gotten this far you already recognize this scam without having to read another word. But for informational purposes, the state of Minnesota has no record of a business by that name. It’s a sham company, a fake, a scam; it does not exist. Once you know that, nothing else is important. Do NOT send them any money!

Title Closer, Inc.: Minnesota also has no record of a business entity with that name, so like the company above — which is supposedly associated with Title Closer — this outfit is also a scam. I mean, once you discover they’re lying about being a real company, what more do you need to know?

And that’s it for this week. Whew!


The thieves operating these schemes may feel pretty safe because they’re doing their dirty work from a foreign country, but they’re mistaken if they think the long arm of US or Canadian or other international authorities can’t get them, given enough documentation from the victims of their scams to provide proper incentive. It took a few years to get the infamous Michael Kelly, for instance, but in the end he spent 6 of the last 7 years of his miserable life in jail. And now they’ve nabbed Keith Kosco, who will be standing trial in Virginia on 33 felony counts of various frauds and identity theft.

It can be done. 😉


What you need to do if you are a victim of a scam is contact the authorities:

  • Your local police; There’s little they can do, but it does provide an official record
  • your state attorney general’s office; (or the RCMP or the Office of Consumer Affairs if you’re in Canada;) Make sure to mention it is a transnational, multi-state scam so they can coordinate with other attorneys general
  • the FBI via IC3 (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. The IC3 not only collects complaints but also analyzes them, links similar complaints, and discerns patterns in order to help law enforcement identify the scammers);
  • the US  Marshals Service;
  • Interpol – United States Central Bureau; Interpol’s databases help law enforcement see the big picture of international crime. While other agencies have their own extensive crime databases, the information rarely extends beyond one nation’s borders. Interpol can track criminals and crime trends around the world. They maintain collections of fingerprints and face photos, lists of wanted persons, DNA samples and travel documents. Their lost and stolen travel document database alone contains more than 12 million records. They also analyze all these data and release information on crime trends to the member countries.
  • the Department of Justice – Office of International Affairs; and anyone else you can think of.

Again: CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE ALL OF THE POSTS IN THIS BLOG ABOUT MEXICO’S TIMESHARE RESALE/ESCROW/BANK WIRE SCAMS! If any of them resemble a scenario that applies to you, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME, assume it’s a scam and walk away.

And if you still think that maybe your case is different and might be for reals, send me the details BEFORE you wire any funds to Mexico (or anywhere else) and I’ll check it out for you. Email [email protected]



“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.” –Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Do you have tips or rumors you’d like to share (ANONYMOUSLY)? Something you’d like us to investigate or follow up on? CONTACT: [email protected]

Permanent link to this article: http://www.insidethegate.com/gatehouse/2015/02/mexico-timeshare-fraud-february-7-2015/

2 comments

  1. Anonymous

    quisiera comunicarle que yo tambien fui victima de un fraude cometido por la empresa Trust Services y Corporate services inc. en el año 2014 por la supuesta venta de un tiempo compartido, las personas




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  2. manana

    Riverside Travel Services along with Chatham Escrow Services, just scammed my 80 year old father in law for over $48,000.00. This is a despicable group of people who should be prosecuted and held accountable for this “elder abuse”!!




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